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Taylor County PVA Shively sends birthday cards to taxpayers

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Cards are used to educate citizens of Homestead Exemption

By Zac Oakes

 

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More than 90 people will receive a birthday card from Taylor County PVA Chad Shively this year.

For many of them, it is a birthday card they have been waiting on for a few years, because only a select group of people receive them.

The birthday cards sent out by Shively’s office not only serve as a kind regard to those turning 65 years old, but also to remind them that they are eligible for the Homestead Exemption, which can save people hundreds of dollars in property taxes.

The Homestead Exemption applies to those 65 and older who are homeowners, or someone who is deemed 100 percent disabled by a qualifying agency. It deducts a certain amount from an individual’s assessments value for the purpose of property taxes.

As an example, Shively said that the 2017 and 2018 excemption was set at $37,600. For an individual with an assessment worth $100,000, they would instead be paying property taxes on an assessment of $62,400 instead.

Shively said he began the birthday card program in the PVA office a few years ago as a way to educate the public about the Homestead Exemption. He spoke to other PVAs from around the state at a conference and heard about their methods of getting the word out, and came up with the idea of sending out birthday cards.

“I began to do some research with statewide offices and finally spoke to the office of the Secretary of State,” Shively said. “They were able to give me a list of individuals that would turn 65 that particular year, and I've been sending birthday cards out ever since.”

Shively, who says he is a “big advocate of taxpayer education,” said that he has seen the birthday card program grow significantly over the last few years, and more people are signing up for the Homestead Exemption. 

“In the beginning, some folks had no idea what the exemption was about,” Shively said. “Since I began aggressively promoting the Homestead Exemption, people now begin looking forward to getting that birthday card.  When they see me in public they remind me that they will be getting a birthday card from me next year because they have learned of the qualifications.

I began this service when I took office in 2013. Since then, it seems that every year more people are eligible for this exemption. The main reason more people are eligible each year can be attributed to the Baby Boomer Generation. These individuals are getting older and are now meeting eligibility requirements. This year alone, I mailed out 94 birthday cards for individuals that I found to be qualified.”

But Shively admits, it is far from simple in providing this program, though he says he is glad to do it for the citizens of Taylor County.

“The real work comes when I receive the list [from the Kentucky Secretary of State],” Shively said. “ I take the list of several hundred people who turn 65 that year and cross reference it to the current tax roll.  I do this because an individual is only allowed one exemption and may already be receiving it on their property due to a spouse being eligible a few years before them.  I also cross reference to make sure the property is in their name.  After I cross reference the list, I make a new list of those who are eligible and commence to personalizing their own birthday card.  I try to do everything for the taxpayer, so all they have to do is come in to the office and sign the paperwork to finish the application process.”

So why does Shively do all of this? He said he believes in taxpayers being educated about all the options available to them, and he believes in treating others the way he would want to be treated.

“I would want someone to tell me if I were eligible for any such exemption,” Shively said.

If you believe that you may qualify for the Homestead Exemption and would like to begin the process of applying, you can contact Shively at the Taylor County PVA Office at (270) 465-5811, drop by the office in the Taylor County Courthouse at 203 N. Court Street, or email chad.shively@ky.gov.

Shively said he would be glad to answer any further questions that people had about the program.